Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Home


Home ... a word I always had a vaguely schizophrenic relationship with. On one hand I am very focused on my home base, my routines, my regular life with its fix corner posts. That is what always gave me the strength to go out there every day and also to travel and find out more about the world.

On the other hand I never really had this emotional connection to the piece of land you would call home. You know .. that thing when people have roots and know where they belong to. I did not put a foot into Wesel, my hometown, since my mom died and the events right after and I did not miss it for a second.

I loved studying in Münster and I still like the city when I go and visit my sister and her family there. It is lovely but for me it was an episode - great for a certain stage of life. 
I finally never wanted to go to Munich but when I ended up getting a job here I went and it wasn't bad at all. It is a big, very pretty, very safe city with great surroundings. I had good times and I cannot say a bad word about Munich. But home? Like "I arrived where I belong to"? Never. 

Then there is traveling and it brings you to new places and I discovered a lot of very nice ones. Some out of the many I visited are sticking out. There is Croatia that took a piece of my heart and soul and kept it and will always do. We also got Pittsburgh. This amazing city and magical place which hosts a lot of the best people I ever had the pleasure to meet. I would have made it my home a good time ago if it was  a) easier (no luck in the green card lottery for me over years) b) closer c) not in America. I am sorry for c) and I actually think the USA are an amazing country for many reasons, but when it comes to the social and political system we Europeans just shake our heads in disbelief. I'm sorry, but I cannot leave my family and especially my nieces behind on the other side of the planet to live in a country that considers Donald Trump a serious presidential candidate (to summarize it in a nutshell). That is no offence to my US friends - I know a lot of them think just the same and we'll see how many will become expats if this nightmare should come true. 

Finally then up from May 2014 life took an unexpected twist and turn when I crossed the Scottish border for the first time. I had never even really considered Scotland as a travel destination in the past but music changed my plans. And I kept coming back and back and back and back ... . 11 times  to date. And finally there it was - that feeling that I am where I belong to. It did not come with a big bang. It just grew slowly and steadily until it started to feel pointless to fly back "home" as in back to Munich. It got even more pointless over the time as lots of my friends in Munich moved away locally or are at totally different places in their lives now - which is perfectly fine and normal but a process that cannot be stopped. 
At some point I looked at myself and I was standing in a club in Munich listening to a band I really liked and I knew maybe 2 people in a 400 people club - if even. A few weeks later I stood in a club in Glasgow and just out of fun I counted the people I knew at that 150 people venue and it were over 30. Not all close friends of course but still. Clearly time to take things in hand and to initiate change. 

I won't bore you with too many details but some time last year the pieces started to fall into place. There was the budget I needed to make things happen, I could - thanks to the pretty awesome company I work for (please visit snapfish.co.uk / snapfish.de / snapfish.com depending on where you are) - figure the job situation out, signed all the paperwork (lots of it), finally cancelled the lease for the Munich apartment and now it is official:

Up from April 1st 2016 I am a residential, full time Glaswegian. I will live in the city that sneaked its way into my life, my heart and my soul. That cold and rainy place full of crazy folks talking in weird accents that I would not want to trade for a golden palace at a warm & sunny beach (well .... at least not for more than a wee holiday that is). That place that is embedded in one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen. 
If you have never been there you should come and visit me, really. BUT be warned ... once you have seen the sunset over the island of Arran you will have a very hard time to leave again - just like me who always wanted to live near the sea and now I will ... from six hours down to about 45 min to the next beach. I can't wait! 

As you can tell I am happy and excited but I am also shitting my pants. I had the worst panic attacks of my life in the last few months and they are still going strong. And I mean real panic attacks. I'm really, really not good with massive change and that is pretty much as massive as it gets. I am very grateful though for my family and friends who support me so much in my plans and help me to make decisions and to keep the excitement up when I am basically nothing but scared and confused. I think I could not do it without them. 

So this blog will change now ... not that I would really plan for it, but I think it is a safe bet that "The adventures of a German expat in Scotland" will fill many chapters on this site. 
As soon as I have a moment of spare time I will happily share the first story which will be all about flat hunting in Glasgow and I can tell you already that is a very ... ahem ... special experience especially when your budget is really not bad but also not "Hey let's buy this cutely refurbished house in Hillhead from the pocket money" type of thing AND you have only one week on location to find yourself a new home.

Come back here soon .... because if one thing is for sure in life then that Scotland is ALWAYS good for a great story worth telling.

PS: Special thanks to The Twilight Sad and Chvrches for throwing me a welcome party on 2nd of April at the Hydro. This will be a lot of fun!

5 comments:

  1. Yay!!!! I can't wait to come visit!!!!

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    1. I secured your guestroom and I am sure you will like it!

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  2. That is great Christina! I'm happy for you! I saw Scotland for the first time in December. I can't wait to come back and visit again.Special mention to Ginger Clark and fans of the Twilight Sad!I don't think I would have gone by myself.

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  4. Great move, Tina - you're truly a brave girl! (And don't worry, there won't be a president Trump).

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